Who is Atticus Finch?

Who is Atticus Finch?

This post has been a long time coming after reading Go Set a Watchman, after a lot of thinking; it's about time I told y'all about it.

Whether you've read the book To Kill a Mockingbird or not, you will know the name Atticus Finch. Especially after recent media focus on the character based on the release of Go Set a Watchman where it would appear he was not the man we 'knew'.

Since the first time I read To Kill a Mockingbird,  Atticus has been a hero of mine and was the reason I went through a stage of wanting to be a lawyer (before I realised I wasn't intelligent enough) and was the perfect representation of justice, compassion and love.

Go Set a Watchman continues the story we all know and love and it took over 50 years for it to appear. The world and the Internet is obviously full of critics, I can be one most of the time, and I'm not lying when I say I was downright pissed when reviews and leaks started coming out slagging off the greatest man in the world of fiction. I tried as hard as I could to avoid these but when your job is essentially the Internet I couldn't go a day during the week before the release date without seeing 'name and shame' headlines (I'm looking at you Buzzfeed) and fury on Twitter. Thanks guys.

After seeing these, I made the decision to not read a single article and to not dwell on the things I had seen and heard so that I would go into it with an open mind. Even a friend of mine said 'it sounds awful, don't read it' because she knows how much To Kill a Mockingbird means to me and to her. But I did it anyway.

As I was reading the book, I tried very hard to not let these cloud my judgement and it was so difficult. The idea of my human rights hero being a racist just kept whizzing around my head and I constantly dreaded the moment it would happen with each turn of the page. i mean, this is Atticus Finch! There is no way on Earth this man could be a racist.

But then it happened.

And I started crying.

Not your standard crying though, the kind of silent tears that you normally associate with heartbreak. It was right at this moment that my boyfriend decided to call me to ask me how the book was going and, with a broken voice, all I could say was 'I can't talk about it right now'. Hang up and cue hysterical sobbing. It felt like something had died. I started to think that maybe my friend had been right.

Being the stubborn book reader I am, I powered through and finished it that day. A LOT of thinking commenced and every time someone asked me what I thought of the book, my answer was always 'I don't know yet'.

I have now decided that the idea of Atticus being a racist could be down to either misinterpretation or a misunderstanding of the time period. We're talking about 1950s South America here and we know from history that it wasn't exactly the most tolerant place or time. I see Atticus as a figure of authority in Maycomb and unfortunately he has been put into a position where he has to side with the masses to prevent uproar, outrage and even dangerous hostility.

I know that some people may argue the point that he should have fought back and stood up for the same equality and human rights he fought for all those years ago in that courtroom with his children watching in the wings.

* Best version of the speech I could find*
I have based my opinion on the following quote:

"I'm only trying to make you see beyond men's acts to their motives. A man can appear to be a part of something not-so-good on it's face, but don't take it upon yourself to judge him unless you know his motives as well. A man can be boiling inside, but he knows a mild answer works better than showing his rage. A man can condemn his enemies, but he's wiser to know them... Have you considered that men, especially men, must conform to the demands of the community they live in simply so they can be of service to it?"

In this instance, Atticus and Hank have done what is expected of them whether it holds true to their personal beliefs or not. Following Scout’s (or 'Jean Louise' now) confrontation with Atticus over what she had witnessed and that horrible, harrowing speech Atticus had done nothing about, he argues that he did not want the man to speak in the first place.

He ends with "are you sure Scout?", he is exasperated, he is old and frail and he simply can’t fight anymore. That’s my thinking anyway.

no title
Some people have previously argued that To Kill a Mockingbird shows the idealised version of Atticus from his child’s eyes. I mean, who doesn’t think of their father as a hero when they’re young? The third person perspective of Go Set a Watchman smacks reality in the faces of a previously loving audience. This could be true but at the same time we have to think of all those things he said to Scout during the build up of the trial that she even mentions in Go Set a Watchman as things she had always remembered about her childhood and father. Things we have always remembered and things I always will.

I have come to the conclusion that Go Set a Watchman should be treated as  separate from To Kill a Mockingbird. I do not believe that it’s ‘the first draft’ despite being presented to publishers first, it’s an entirely different story. Obviously it’s not as good as To Kill a Mockingbird but then again, nothing ever will be.  To Kill a Mockingbird introduced those of us who were born ‘colour blind’, as Scout says,  to a world we will never understand but also a world were the first steps of justice through race and equality were taken in fiction. I’m not saying you shouldn’t avoid Go Set a Watchman, it’s definitely worth a read but do as I have and consider it as separate. If ever you feel your opinion of Atticus has been tarnished, always look back on the following quote and remember him for the man he truly is.

Scout: "You're not really a nigger lover, then, are you?"

Atticus: "I most certainly am. I do my best to love everybody... I'm hard put, sometimes - baby, it's never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is. It doesn't hurt you."

One dress from day to night with George at Asda

One dress from day to night with George at Asda

George at Asda

I am always feeling uninspired by my wardrobe and tend to avoid being creative with the things I have and always go for the same look and then start to get bored. To be honest, there's nothing worse because I then just end up spending money on more clothes that I'll inevitably do the same thing to. That is the vicious cycle of my wardrobe.

I was recently asked to take part in the #GeorgeousDresses challenge with George at Asda and it was the perfect opportunity to attempt being creative, learning the versatility of one item and potentially developing some kind of 'style'.

My aim was to take one dress from to day to night through something I have never been good at... Accessorising.

George at Asda
Dress* - £18
Duster Jacket* - £20
Tote Bag* - £16
Sunglasses* - £3.50
Snood*- £4
For my day look I put together something festival-y to help make me feel better about the fact I'm not going to one this year. I'm fortunate enough to work in a pretty casual office where I can pretty much get away with a band t-shirt and jeans, so this was perfect.

Wearing dresses with boots is my new favourite thing now and since the sun decided to pay us a brief visit I thought it was about time to bring out the denim jacket. Those glasses = <3

I jump at any opportunity to dress up so decided to create my 'night look' for a trip to the theatre with Charlie, Distracted so paired the paisley dress* and duster jacket* with some killer heels and a statement belt. I was originally wearing the belt underneath the jacket but my oh so very fashionable colleague told me it looked better over the top instead. I kinda agree. I was wearing the scarf* too but then I got to hot and it ended up in my bag*!

George at Asda
I loved this challenge because it gave me the opportunity to play around with my clothes more and I have already started to take this on board with more of my stuff. I loved the duster jacket so much I even opted for a more casual look with it earlier this week! #Learning

Which is your favourite look?

All items marked with a (*) were gifted to me by Asda but if I didn't like it, I wouldn't write about it. 

10 thoughts I have while eating a curry

10 thoughts I have while eating a curry

chicken curry
Image courtesy of tiverylucky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I love a good curry, while living with Charlie, Distracted it was a regular part of our diet and now I live with my boyfriend, nothing has changed. I love the smells as it cooks with the combination of garlic and all the spices in the world (well, slight exaggeration but you know what I mean) and curries are also beautiful. SO MANY COLOURS! I mean, who wouldn't want to try food that occasionally looks that shade of a sunset.

Unfortunately there is a downside so some of the most wonderful dishes in the world and that is the fact that I cannot handle spice and am a complete wuss, plus there's the joys of heartburn. I have suffered for years but am too damn stubborn to give up one of my favourite things. For a laugh, here are 10 thoughts I have while eating a curry.

  1. Oh my God this smells delicious. 
  2. This was such a good idea.
  3. Oh! It's not too bad actually, I think I can handle this one
  4. Holy Christ my mouth is on fire
  5. If I eat more rice first, maybe I can handle the spice
  6. Come on Ashleigh-Jayne, everyone will judge you if you don't finish this
  7. Great, they're laughing at me
  9. Screw that last spoonful, I am done and dying
  10. Euuuuurgh *curls up on sofa*
Sometimes I get lucky, sometimes I don't but one thing is for certian - I am a curry failure and sometimes my boyfriend has to finish it for me so we don't waste food.

This post was sponsored by Gaviscon but the fails at Curry eating are completely my own.